Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Introspection

The last two days, I've had several moments of deep thought and general awe. Yesterday I went to the library, just to walk around and stay awake (stupid cold medicine makes me tired). I decided to walk around the section with all of the medical books just to browse and see if there was anything that jumped at me. As I walked up and down the aisles, I was dwarfed by the sheer number of books.

I was humbled by the amount of knowledge sitting on those shelves. And for a moment, I panicked. I thought, "How can I, as a future doctor, ever expect to know enough of this knowledge to actually treat patients?"

Even areas that are "specialties" have rows upon rows of books. I feel like it is my duty to know as much as I can when I plan to see patients full time. And I want to learn forever. Judging by the books in the library, I don't think learning forever will be a problem.

Then, yesterday, I was sorting through files on the computer in an attempt to be more organized. I stumbled across journals I started typing in 2005 (back when I actually was in "Crazy Talk", as we called therapy). Wow. Just wow. It's amazing to me to read about what was going on in my life. I was completely transfixed by the entries. Here's what I've learned since then:

-I've really regressed back to associating my weight and food issues with success in my life. I actually don't weigh more than I did in 2005, but I feel like I've gotten huge (it doesn't help that pregnancy redistributed everything).

-I'm still measuring myself with a different yardstick than I measure other people.

-I really hated lab in 2005. I should've cut bait when my first PI left and gone back to medical school. Instead, I've suffered since then. I wish I would listen to my instincts more. I do think switching labs this time was the right decision, but I knew in 2005 that there were no good options for me (as least as they were presented by the director in my department). Instead of compromising then, I should have listened to my intuition. I think this lab I joined will be the best I've been in for my PhD, by far.

-Much of the same family drama that existed in 2005 still exists. And it's had ups and downs, but it isn't consistently getting better. I am working to do my part with it, but I can't tell the rest of my family to do the same. And I'm a judgmental control freak, so keeping my mouth shut is not easy.

-Basically, everything I talked about in therapy in 2005 is still an issue with me. I am better about saying no to everything that gets put in front of me, but if I didn't have Sophie, I may still be a "yes" person.

-I question myself. A LOT. And I always have. At some point, I need to learn to make decisions and go with my gut.

-I am happier now in the sense that I've had enough clinical experience to know that at least one aspect of my MD/PhD training will be useful.

-Life is much more complete with Sophie in it. I had a lot of superficial things that I fretted about pre-Sophie. I've gotten better about letting the stupid things slide. It may mean that the house is messier than it used to be, but I am getting better about prioritizing.

-There are still a lot of things in my life that I am worried about. They are basically the same as before, just in different incarnations. And it all comes down to security. I worry about money in terms of security. I worry about having a career because of security. I worry about raising Sophia so she is happy and secure. I'm insecure with myself. Basically, that is my personal #1 basic need, and everything I do in live is somehow related.

It's interesting to step back every now and again in order to take stock in the big picture. I do feel intrinsically happier than I ever have before--Sophie is a big part of that--but I still worry about the same stuff. I keep saying that "I'll get to it." I don't know how, but I need to find a way to work on my issues while dealing with everything else I have going on. I think it will make the rest of my life easier in turn.

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